Eggnog Ice Cream with Candied Pecans and Salted Rum Caramel

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Even though the holidays are without a doubt my most absolute favorite time of year, I also find them to be completely overwhelming.

Do you remember in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when a teenage Juliette Lewis is complaining to her mother about having to share a bed with her little brother, because – surprise! – they’ve invited far too many relatives for Christmas and there just wasn’t enough space for everyone?

And then her mom just sort of stares at her with an indifferent expression and states: “Well, I don’t know what to say, other than it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”

……

Exactly.

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The cooking, the cleaning, the gift-buying, the incessant pressure to engage in TOGETHERNESS and JOY. It’s just…a lot.

And trust me, I know the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about all the gifts and glitz and blah blah blah. Go ahead and add that sentiment to the list of Additional Holiday Stressors That Also Make Me Feel Extreme Guilt and Shame.

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Judging by the sheer number of “Reduce Holiday Stress” articles that are flooding the interwebs at the moment, I get the feeling I’m not alone.

But if I could take a moment to be selfish and complain for just one or two paragraphs, you know who really gets the raw end of the deal this time of year? Food bloggers.

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The holiday stress of a food blogger is even more deplorable than that of a typical consumer. Ours is a self-imposed, self-important, millennial, bottom-feeding kind of stress, as in, WHAT AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR MY WILDLY POPULAR ICE CREAM BLOG WITH TWENTY FOLLOWERS THAT’S FUN AND DIFFERENT BUT STILL CELEBRATES ALL THE FLAVORS THAT BIG FOOD TELLS ME I SHOULD BE CELEBRATING?!!

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It’s probably painfully obvious by now that I take myself and my blog way too seriously most of the time, but the stress is particularly pronounced around two peak seasons:

  1. Summertime, because I feel like that’s supposed to be MY time, since ice cream is generally considered a summer thing, and everyone expects me to be crazy on top of my game (but I never am).
  2. The holidays – because it’s the perfect time to show people that ice cream can and should be enjoyed all year round. It’s my burden to bear.

Like most things in my life, the blog can sometimes become a painful exercise in over-analyzation, and this time of year is worse than most, because I’m overwhelmed with all the amazing holiday flavors at my disposal.

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While drafting this first “Chistmas-y” post of the year, I’ve been paralyzed with fear – I didn’t want to make a wrong move. After all, I’ve already posted some pretty standard holiday fare, including Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread, and Christmas Ale.

But what comes next?

For days – weeks even – I pleaded with the Internet food gods, asking them to send me a sign from above.

And then, one day, it appeared to me, like a glorious ray of sunlight on the darkest of stormy days:

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Photo courtesy McDonald’s, obviously.

I’d like to think I’ve been pretty transparent about my unrefined palate. But this takes it to a whole new level. In one of my more embarrassing admissions, I’m going to tell you that I absolutely love eggnog shakes from McDonald’s.

I mean, like, LOVE.

Adore, even.

Want to know what’s even more shameful? I didn’t realize I loved eggnog until I had the fake McDonald’s version, in the form of a really awful milkshake.

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Back in the day, when I was Lindsay Who Still Had Her Youth In Addition To A Reasonably Acceptable BMI, I’d go on eggnog shake binges during Finals week, actually dipping my fries into the shake.

(I know, I KNOW. Trust me, this isn’t an easy story to tell).

Then, as I matured, I progressed from eggnog shakes to store-bought eggnog, and went along in life, blissfully ignorant, until one day I had made-from-scratch eggnog at a friend’s house and it totally changed my life. Like most things homemade, it’s ruined me for more commercialized versions.

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As I was making this ice cream, I questioned why it took me so long to get around to this flavor, since eggnog and ice cream have such similar DNA.

Truthfully, it’s really because my husband doesn’t like eggnog, much to my chagrin. I thought surely this ice cream version of eggnog would change his mind – maybe it was just the texture of typical eggnog that he loathed?

But nope, he hated it.

Even as a creamy, delicious ice cream.

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Spiked with rum.

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Covered in caramel.

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And jam-packed with crunchy candied pecans.

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He even said, and I quote: “This ice cream tastes like poop.”

So, there you have it.

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Me, though? This might be one of my favorite ice creams that I’ve ever made.

I was really concerned about all the eggs in this recipe (note: there’s SEVEN of them). The base seemed pretty thick and flat when I first emptied it into the ice cream maker (and nothing makes me sadder than the thought of bad ice cream).

But lo and behold, it fluffed up into a magical dreamland of nutmeg-kissed dairy. The few tablespoons of rum kept the ice cream nice and soft as it froze (but word to the wise: this takes a really long time to freeze so plan accordingly). The homemade caramel and candied pecans really put this over the top, and helped cut through the richness of the boozy ice cream base.

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I loved this so much, I might just start putting extra eggs and rum in all of my ice cream from now on. Is that excessive?

Do you like eggnog? What’s your favorite way to serve it?

Happy scooping 🙂

Eggnog Ice Cream with Candied Pecans and Salted Rum Caramel

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 24 hrs
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Yield: 1 Quart

Ingredients:

7 egg yolks

¾ cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Large pinch of salt

¼ tsp to ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (I went with ½ tsp but I really like nutmeg. A lot).

2 or 3 tablespoons of dark rum (or, to taste)

For the Candied Pecans (this recipe makes about a cup extra for snacking)

½ pound pecans

1/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

For the Salted Rum Caramel

1.5 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of heavy cream

2.5 tablespoons of butter (salted or unsalted…i never use unsalted anything, but if you don’t enjoy over salting everything like I do, you might want to go the unsalted route)

Large pinch of salt (or to taste)

1 tsp of good vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of dark rum (or, to taste)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until all of the yolks are broken and the sugar is well incorporated.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and salt until it just begins to steam. A little at a time, pour the warmed milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly until all of the milk is incorporated. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan, and continue cooking for ten minutes or so, until the mixture thickens into custard (if using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, the custard should stick to the back; when you wipe your finger across, there should be a clear “path” through the custard).
  3. Strain custard through a sieve into a bowl, and add the heavy cream, rum, and nutmeg. Stir until combined. Store in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Make the candied pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°.
  2. In a small bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another, larger bowl, whisk the egg white with the water until thick and foamy. Add the pecans, and mix until each pecan is covered with egg white. Then add in the sugar mixture, mixing thoroughly until each pecan is coated.
  4. Spreah on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for one hour, mixing them up every fifteen minutes so that they cook evenly.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Make the Salted Rum Caramel:

  1. Add the sugar to a medium sized saucepan, then pour water over top; no need to mix together. Texture should be that of wet sand.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and let boil until miture reaches a deep amber color and smells amazing.
  3. Remove from heat, and VERY CAREFULLY begin whisking in the heavy cream, just a little at a time. The cool cream will cause a ton of hot steam to rise from the boiling sugar, which can be dangerous.
  4. Once all the cream is incorporated, add the butter and vanilla. Then, start adding the rum and salt. I would start off slowly here with both. I only ended up adding about 1 tablsepoon of rum…but about ten thousand teaspoons of salt. Just kidding… probably two teaspoons (but I love salt).
  5. Let rest on the counter until cooled, then store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Put it all together:

  1. Freeze the ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. Move to a storage container a little at a time, layering in as many pecans and as much caramel as you like between layers. Freeze overnight, then serve with extra caramel and pecans.

19 thoughts on “Eggnog Ice Cream with Candied Pecans and Salted Rum Caramel

  1. Um… wow. Just… wow.

    I salute your AMAZING efforts to come up with unique and tantalising concoctions of dairy dreamland AND your never-ceasing sharp-witted observations of life that have me literally LOLing into my morning coffee. AND your kick-ass photo styling and composition. So really, in summary, all those food blogger frustrations and stressful, guilt-ridden moments of ‘What-in-God’s-name-do-I-come-up-with-this-week?!’ and ‘I’m-too-tired-screw-it!’ and ‘THIS-EFFING-LIGHT-ISN’T-EFFING-RIGHT-THE-SUN’S-GOING-DOWN-WHAT-DO-I-DO?!’…. Totally worth it – you’re basically my hero.

    Also – I’m envious of your ice cream freezer tub – is this cardboard or ceramic and commercially available?

    • Aw thank you so much! This is a major self esteem boost hahah Lately I’ve been feeling like all of my pictures have so much noise, and I’m not sure if it’s me or the crappy Ohio lighting or maybe I need a better lens? Oh, the never ending drama and worry associated with the blog life! Hahah

      Aren’t these containers adorable? These were actually a gift, but a quick Google search reveals they are from a brand called Tovolo and it seems they are readily available from Amazon and Sur la Table (do you guys have Sur la Table?). Here’s one link I found so you can get the manufacturer’s deets:

      http://m.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1495209/Tovolo+Ice+Cream+Storage+Container;jsessionid=691E9544C940FDB1C5501EF14CF71547.slt-app-02-p-app3?affsrcid=AFF0001

      I love having these – I’m actually obsessed with food storage and it makes me happy knowing my ice cream has a designated home lol btw, these are plastic and the lid is.. I believe…silicone? Good luck! Thank you for appreciating the little things 🙂

  2. Oh.
    My.
    Gah.

    First of all. This looks insanely over the top amazing and I really wish Ben & Jerry’s made it instead of you so I could just go buy it and eat it right now!
    I might just have to bust out the ice cream maker and make this for my mom when she comes for Christmas…

    Second of all. Your post had me cracking up. I read this on my lunch break and I was sitting alone on a park bench by the East River laughing my fool head off all by myself while passers-by looked at me like a lunatic.

    Third of all. I totally feel your pain. All of it. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the countless hours I’ve laid awake at night worrying about flavor profiles and recipe ideas that are classic enough, innovative enough, special enough, seasonal enough, interesting enough, or just plain good enough.
    And as for the husband poking fun at the recipes he doesn’t like- mine is just as vocal when he’s not into something and I’ve learned to just plain ignore him and go on with my day. The corn pudding I made for Thanksgiving was definitely not his favorite, but I loved it and I just don’t care. He actually tried to talk me out of posting it. Telling me it was gross and “no one liked it” even though he was the only one that pushed it around their plate. He’s such a picky little poop about food that I just have to take a long hair don’t care attitude and just make what I like!

    Anyways- WELL FREAKING DONE!
    Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy hanukkah, etc.

    • Hahah why thank you! I’d be so honored to be on the Brooklyn Homemaker holiday meal agenda! #foodbloggoals

      It warms my heart muscle that in some small way, I’ve contributed to random strangers thinking you’re a big freak. And, saying you were hanging out by the “east river” is just so New Yorker cool, you don’t even know. The best I could do is “well when I was sitting out by Lake Erie…” but it just doesn’t have the same sound…it’s too Ohio haha

      Is it weird that knowing my husband hated the ice cream made me enjoy it a little more? Apparently I’m not as eager to impress now that we’re in our second year of marriage haha I actually took some of this to work for my coworkers and he said “why would you take that poop ice cream to work?!” I’m only now realizing what a picky eater I’ve married!!!

  3. I had forgotten and still can’t believe Bradley doesn’t like egg nog! I’m going to have a talk with him.

  4. I’ve always been ambivalent about eggnog but you just totally sold me on it! I want to dive into boozy eggnog heaven. Also, I feel your pain. I always feel like I’m trying to catch up to what’s the best thing to post at the best time and I utterly fail. But you’ve nailed it!

  5. Your husband, let’s just call him “Brad” for the purposes of this post, clearly has a deficient gene. I support your love of this ice cream in all it’s rum, caramel, candied pecan, eggnog glory. Your writing and pictures are as wonderful as your ice cream!

    • You know, it truly is heartbreaking – I spend every waking moment of each day just wondering how I can make this man (we can keep calling him “Brad” for lack of a better term) happy and he has the nerve to turn his nose up at all this awesomeness?? Why I otta!! *shakes fist in the air*

      Thank you so much for the sweet words! Let’s have an eggnog ice cream party – people named Brad won’t be invited, obviously 🙂

  6. Pingback: Milk and Cookies Ice Cream | If the Spoon Fits

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